Though the ruling Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have succeeded to avoid the clash in the legislative council by-poll by withdrawal of one candidate, all is not well between the alliance partners.
The Congress withdrew its candidate, Mohan Joshi from the Legislative Council by-polls on Friday, paving way for unopposed election of NCP state president Sunil Tatkare to the Upper House of the state legislature.
In exchange, it is learnt that the NCP conceded the next Legislative Council seat vacated after party rebel Vinayak Mete joined BJP and promised to be more flexible in seat sharing negotiations.
Prior to this, a late night meeting between Sharad Pawar, his nephew, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday proved futile with both sides refusing to compromise.
Party workers loyal to Ajit Pawar believe that the party should face the assembly polls alone as it would increase their chances of winning more seats. Pawar’s chief ministerial ambition are no longer a secret. If the party decides to face the polls alone, projecting Ajit as the CM candidate will help the NCP make an impact like Narendra Modi did in the Lok Sabha polls.
A section also believes that the party should have all the options open, including that of parties like Shiv Sena, if the opportunity to form a government arises.
Party leaders have been closely observing the happenings within the Sena-BJP combine. If the rift between the saffron parties leads to snapping ties, it would help NCP in taking decision over its allies in the elections.